Paraplegics are unable to use the lower part of their body to maneuver and get around, are often wheelchair-bound and experience some difficulty in daily living tasks such as bathing and grooming. Although you always want to purchase a gift that is suitable to the likes and dislikes of the individual, there are some gift ideas that may be appropriate and appreciated by those who are physically disabled to better help them adapt to their disability.
Many who are wheelchair-bound can benefit from portable entertainment devices, such as portable DVD players, MP3 players and handheld video games. Another option is a wireless reading device, which requires no cables, computer or syncing and provides wireless connectivity to electronic paper display novels. Novels can be auto-delivered to any location in less than one minute. You might also consider speech recognition software, which allows users to dictate emails and surf the net without having to lift a finger.
A good bird-watching book and a pair of high-powered binoculars might be a good present for a bird or animal enthusiast. Even a set of hand weights or elastic resistance bands can help a paraplegic keep his upper body fit while enjoying time spent outdoors. Those with a green thumb might benefit from an elevated gardening bed. One designer, Laramee Haynes of Pasadena, designed his own Lazy Susan gardening bed to make access easier for people in a wheelchair. Raised bed gardens are especially fulfilling when growing fresh vegetables and fruits and can be accessible for most wheelchair users when the top of the gardening area reaches about table height. Container gardening has become increasingly popular in recent years and many containers are available for purchase, or you can easily design one for yourself.
Special lines of comfortable, easy-to-access clothing have been developed for those who are paralyzed or confined to wheelchairs to help alleviate the difficulties of dressing and undressing. Many clothing items feature extended Velcro fasteners to provide easy access for personal needs with front panels that open to the hip. Even special jeans have been designed that are more comfortable for extended sitting periods and are easier to maneuver in. These jeans come with inside seam openings for special needs such as catheters or bags, with elasticized ankle bands to keep things tucked out of sight. Shorts and swimwear are also available to keep special needs private, while shirts are equipped with extendable large-neck openings. Dresses are designed with Velcro straps, longer back hems for sitting positions and hip openings for dressing ease and comfort. See the Resources link for a list of online manufacturers of adaptive clothing.